February 25, 2016

Conclusion of Roche resettlement

In 2003, Cerrejón and Roche began a joint process to resettle that community in order to prevent dust emissions from the mining operation from negatively impacting residents. Cerrejón is aware that resettlement is an opportunity for improving the quality of life of the households involved, although we are also cognizant of the fact that it is a difficult process for everyone, and it is always a last resort. The Roche resettlement is part of our compliance with the obligations entailed with the environmental permit granted by the Colombian state.

In the case of Roche, Cerrejón had to request an early handover proceeding due to non-compliance with the agreements reached on October 2. We regret the events that injured two people from the community, various police officers, and an official from the company.

To ensure the security of the parties, the proceedings were attended by national observers, government institutions, and human rights institutions such as the Regional Prosecutor’s Office of La Guajira, the Public Ombudsman, the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare, and the Barrancas Family Services Agency.

By the end of 2015, 24 of the 25 Roche families had already relocated to the new site, leaving just one at Roche origin.

Despite ongoing dialogue lasting over 12 years, this family did not comply with their formal commitments on two different occasions. The last agreement, reached in October of 2015, included the provision of farms for the cattle, upgrades to the house in New Roche, the payment of cash indemnifications, and compensations in accordance with Colombian law, which meet the highest international standards. In addition, it involved the participation of the Colombian NGO Indepaz as an independent third party to monitor agreement compliance. Indepaz certified that Cerrejón met all its commitments by the agreed dates and is willing to continue forward with the resettlement process with this family and all the other families.

The compensation packages the families received include (among other items) access to technical and higher education, support for educational strengthening, old age support, a hectare of land, seed capital, and technical assistance for establishing production projects. These families have already received a house in New Roche with running water, electricity, and sewage mains.

Cerrejón will be there for the families in the next stages of this process, ensuring that all the commitments and international standards are met in full. In the case of Roche, we regret having had to recur to an early handover proceeding and the events that occurred during the course of it.